Every season, a coach is bound to meet one or two parents who feel that they can take over as coach.
These are the parents who may show up at every practice, are not hesitant to complain about their child’s playing time, and may even ask you to switch up players’ positions so that their child plays a more significant role.
They may even go as far as discussing how you should handle other teammates and ask you about your team strategy.
And on game day, you are likely to see and hear those parents yelling from the stands. They are questioning your decisions, telling you what to do, and even trying to get the attention of the coach from the opposing team.
Parents become this way for a number of reasons. One of them being, they are trying to live vicariously through their children. Seeing their kids succeed in sports means that they have themselves have succeeded. Because there is little they can do about the way that their child actually plays, they take it out on the coach on game day.
These types of parents feel so out of control that they will do whatever they can to include themselves in the outcome. Shouting from the stands makes them feel as though they are involved in the game somehow.
This type of behavior has gotten so out of hand that programs have been established to educate coaches and parents on how to act appropriately during games. In fact, the Respect in Sports Parent program has taught thousands of coaches and parents across Canada the correct behaviors at the sports field and rink.
Wayne McNeil, a founder of the Respect Group says, “Sport organizations have to deal with a lot of unruly and disrespectful parents. These parents have a negative effect on the team, the other parents, and even their own children.”
The program also empowers parent bystanders to take the appropriate action to reduce verbal abuse from the stands before it escalates to spectator violence.
The best advice for coaches who are dealing with parents like these is to simply ignore them. That’s right. Just ignore them.
While we cannot guarantee that they will eventually tire and stop, learning how to zone them out will help you do your job and get through the game.
And if you feel that the behavior has come to the point where it is embarrassing for the young athletes, particularly the child of the parent that is being disruptive to the game, or could escalate to something dangerous in the upcoming games, it is your duty to talk to the parent at a later time in private.
The parent should be reminded of the rules that you explained at the beginning of the season. That apart from the expectations that you had for their child as your athlete, there are also guidelines for parents to follow such as behaving appropriately during practices and games.
Young athletes, particularly teenagers, are often so busy that they ignore proper nutrition. However, eating right and on time can be their secret weapon to performing their best on game day.
If you are an athlete, keeping your body nourished and hydrated can significantly affect the quality of your performance. You should eat a well-balanced meal 2 or more hours before the big game; never play on an empty stomach. Your meal should be full of starch with a portion of protein and vegetables.
Carbs are for energy and your muscles love protein. A great meal option would be 6-oz. of lean protein like turkey, fish, or grilled chicken paired with 1.5 cups of rice or pasta and at least 2 cups of vegetables.
But just as there are great meal recommendations for pre-game, there are also a list of foods and drinks that you should avoid on game day:
Foods with Dairy
One thing that you shouldn’t consume before a game is dairy. Dairy contains lactose and if your gastrointestinal tract is already stressed, the sugar is hard to the stomach to digest. This includes foods that are loaded with cheese.
In fact, most runners avoid dairy entirely at least 24 hours before a big race. Good alternatives are soy and almond milk or lactose-free yogurt.
Fiber helps your body clear out your gastrointestinal tract. Fiber-rich foods can also cause diarrhea, gas, and cramping.
Whole grain foods, nuts, certain vegetables and fruits, and legumes are high in fiber. The most high-fiber foods are bran, cauliflower and broccoli, cabbage, raspberries, romaine lettuce, celery, squash, kidney beans, mushrooms, and oranges.
And while fiber is generally good for you, too much of it within 24 hours of your big game is not recommended.
Every athlete’s stomach is different but many experts discourage athletes to take caffeine before a big game because it can also lead to stomach issues. The last thing you want during your game is the need to suddenly go to the bathroom.
Also, high-caffeinated drinks like coffee and sodas will leave you feeling jittery and anxious which is the last thing you want to feel during competition.
Fatty foods should be avoided by everyone in general. Fatty foods are incredibly hard to digest. And for athletes, eating foods high in fat such as burgers, pizza, and other fried foods could mean dealing with bloating during your game.
Fried foods are greasy and while they are filling and delicious, they will leave you feeling tired and sluggish. Do yourself a favor and skip the junk food before your game.
When kids learn goal-setting at an early age, they discover the value of hard work and patience towards achieving their goals.
It gets them to think about the sort of person they are. It helps them define their interests and lets them express how they feel about themselves. It allows them to see areas of personal improvement and lets them discover what it is that they want most in life.
Here are 4 of the top reasons why you should be teaching your kids to set goals for themselves:
- Sense of Purpose
Goal-setting helps children develop a sense of purpose which improves their self-esteem. By learning to discover what it is they value and want to achieve, they become self-aware. This builds their confidence as that acknowledge what they like most about themselves. They also determine what it is they value most in life.
Because goals are meant to be personal and meaningful, kids are driven by internal motivation which fuels their energy and strength.
- Develops Their Focus
Without a goal, children lack direction. Because goals often come with some form of a reward, kids who have goals have something to look forward to. And because they have a target to focus on, they begin to develop decision-making skills and how options that are presented to them can either bring closer and further from reaching goals.
- Unlocks Potential
It’s amazing what your child can discover about themselves as they progress towards achieving their goals. Along the way, they may discover they were good at something that they never thought they would be.
Working towards your goals isn’t always easy, and kids may encounter many disappointments before reaching it. But with every failure is an opportunity to learn and improve. Through the process of goal-setting, many children reveal things about their character that they didn’t know that they had like resilience and integrity.
- Teaches Kids to Be Realistic
Children may think that goals are like dreams. By teaching them goal-setting, they will learn that while dreams and goals have many things in common, setting realistic goals are more within their control.
Perhaps they want to save up enough money to buy a new glove or attend a summer sports camp. Explain that these are attainable goals that don’t just have to be dreams and something that they can work towards.
Remember that it’s never too early to start instilling the value of setting goals and working towards reaching them to your kids. Start simple by helping your child pick something that is fun that they can achieve in a relatively short amount of time. With every small goal they reach, they start to think bigger. Support them in attaining their goals by helping them track their progress. Before you know it, they’ll be goal-setting naturally. And they’ll most likely be doing it well into adulthood.
It takes a special kind of person to coach a large group of young players. Many adults feel overwhelmed if they were left in charge of just two to three kids; so imagine managing over a dozen children at a time.
And they’re not just a bunch of kids who are going to sit quietly in the library; these are children who have the mindset that they are on recess break. They are amped up and ready to run around the field and show off their skills to their teammates.
Experienced youth league coaches have learned how to deal with young players and how to effectively communicate with them. It starts with gaining their trust and earning their respect. Here are 3 tips to properly communicate with young players to get them to not only listen but to open up to you:
- Keep it Simple
Games have a lot of rules and techniques, and it’s understandable that the average 8 year old may be frustrated with trying to keep up with all of them. Keep it light and manageable by introducing the kids to the fundamentals before anything else. The rest will follow over time.
Overwhelm the child with too much too soon, and you risk losing their interest in the game.
With every practice, you’ll be able to gauge when they are ready to move to the next step. And you can adjust as the days go by.
- Positive Reinforcement
Much like adults, kids feed off positivity and compliments. They’re inspired to keep doing well when they know that their efforts are being recognized. Kids are much more receptive to positive reinforcement and more likely to open up their mind to constructive feedback. Focus on the positive and reinforce the good.
Praise them on good performances the moment you see it. Compliment them on their efforts. If you notice that they start to act frustrated, take them aside. Have them take a deep breath and tell them how proud you are to see they’re not giving up. And if you do see one of your athletes who seems like they have given up, be genuine in your approach when you ask them what’s wrong and how you can help.
- Get To Know Your Players Individually
You may think it’s impossible to set each child aside and get to know their individual strengths and weaknesses. A good coach who is dedicated can absolutely do this.
And when you speak to your athletes one-on-one, don’t give them generic instructions or cliched encouragement. Be specific and prove that you have been paying attention to their unique needs. Each player on your team plays a special role, and they need to be made aware of that.
If you’re not quite used to communicating with young kids yet, you’ll quickly discover that their enthusiasm is infectious. And because kids are honest (often, too honest), they will probably have no hesitations in pointing out where you could improve as a coach or what it is they need from you.
You’ve just played what feels like the game of your life, and you’re really proud of how you pushed yourself. You ran faster, jumped higher, stayed agile, and reached some personal goals in the process.
However, you wake up the next day in utter agony. The adrenaline that got you through the game is gone, and now you’re feeling every ache and pain. The trauma and micro-tears that your muscles experienced have left you completely sore.
Although you know you’ll get stronger once those muscles have repaired themselves, you ask how you can speed up the recovery process. Here are 4 tips to help ease some of that soreness and even give your healing a boost:
This method isn’t for everyone, and some people have reported that they felt even sorer afterward.
However, many professional athletes swear by their post-game ice baths. A 10-minute ice bath reportedly helps your body flush out waste products as it constricts blood vessels. Ice baths propose to reduce tissue swelling and decrease inflammation thus increasing the speed of recovery.
On the other hand, hot baths have also been said to jump-start recovery by dilating the blood vessels which bring extra blood to damaged tissues. Plus, hot baths are naturally relaxing, and that can also encourage your body to heal.
Sleep is perhaps the most recommended thing that you can do if you want to recover. Eight hours of sleep after a game can do wonders as your body heals itself the most during sleep. The last thing you want to do at this point is to engage in more strenuous activity that will only worsen your condition.
Make sure you get a massage from a professional or someone who knows what they are doing. A massage administered incorrectly could potentially damage a muscle. That being said, massages are excellent for relaxation and improving blood flow. These help release endorphins. So you’re not only healing, but you also start to feel fantastic.
You probably have lost a lot of fluids during your game. To heal, you need to replenish the electrolytes that are now likely depleted. Fuel up with plenty of fluids and the right food to jump-start your recovery.
Sugar-free sports drinks will get you re-hydrated and replenish your electrolytes while high protein foods and shakes will help your muscles repair themselves.
These are the most common tips on helping your body recover from a game. Many athletes also swear by compression garments that have been said to increase blood flow to the muscles by constricting your muscles thus releasing the amount of fluid buildup and decreasing the swelling and pressure.
At some point, you will discover what works best for you when It comes to your personal recovery. Listen to your own body and for the cues that signify whether the method is working or not.